Friday, September 16, 2016

Media Has Created Trump the Mountebank

According to the Oxford English Dictionary--a Mountebank is "an itinerant quack" and an "impudent pretender to skill a charlatan, one or resorts to degrading means to obtain notoriety" The word is derived from an Italian phrase ---to mount a bench and proceeds to appeal to an audience through the use of showmanship and tricks.  Does this sound like anyone we know? OK Yes the GOP nominee Donald J Trump whose major trick was to get himself into the presidential stakes by claiming that Obama was not an American citizen and thus an illegitimate president. Today he went back on that claim and issued a statement without any reason or apology that President Obama was born in the US as if he now is the ultimate arbiter of who is and who is not an American citizen.  The sheer chutzpah,  the lack of shame or embarrassment that he has been fronting what became known as the birther movement should stop anyone in their tracks but Trump's consistent lies and lack of shame no longer is of much interest to the media. They consistently cover him as if he were a serious candidate --no one so far in the media (with the possible exception of Chris Mathews on the issue of abortion) has been able to ask any solid follow up questions of Trump. They have allowed one question on one topic, usually a soft ball one and allow his bluster to go unchallenged.

Take a look below of a typical interview. This was high stakes debate on the military -

LAUER: You said in the speech today, you said history shows that when America is not prepared is when the danger is the greatest.
TRUMP: And we’re not prepared.

Why is that Mr Trump--we spend more on the military than the next nine major countries combined

LAUER: Will you be prepared on day one, if you’re elected president of the United States, to tackle these complex national security issues?
TRUMP: One hundred percent. Hey, Matt, again, she made a mistake on Libya. She made a terrible mistake on Libya. And the next thing, I mean, not only did she make the mistake, but then they complicated the mistake by having no management once they bombed you know what out of Gadhafi. I mean, she made a terrible mistake on Libya. And part of it was the management after effect. I think that we have great management talents, great management skills.
LAUER: But you are prepared?
TRUMP: And I have to tell you — totally prepared. But remember this. I found this subject and these subjects of interest all of my life, Matt. This hasn’t been over the last 14 months. I’ve found these substantiates of tremendous interest. That’s why they were asking me about Iraq 14 years ago. They were asking me these questions. They don’t ask businesspeople those questions.
What exactly prepared you Mr Trump? What exactly did you study? That makes you "100 percent" and  "totally prepared"? 
LAUER: Let me end in kind of the same place I started. Have you given much thought, Mr. Trump, if you’re elected president and commander-in-chief, to that moment where you’re going to have to make that first decision that puts American men and women in harm’s way?
TRUMP: I think it’s the most difficult decision you can possibly ever make. You’re talking about death. And we’re talking death to not just our side. We’re talking death all over. I would be very, very cautious. I think I’d be a lot slower. She has a happy trigger. You look, she votes for the wars, she goes in Libya…

Notice no follow up questions. My questions are in blue highlight. His hyperbole and lies are in yellow highlight. The first question Lauer should have asked in any normal environment gone like this --what makes you feel prepared to be commander in chief after your five military deferments in Viet Nam; your recent attempt to demean the character of a former prisoner of war, Senator John McCain and your questioning of the sacrifice of a Gold Star family.

If Trump is elected in November the media will bear heavy responsibility for not calling this Mountebank, this charlatan, fraudster out. Meanwhile did you hear the news--if Trump loses he is going to set up his own  Trump TV network to be bigger than Fox. Watch out mainstream media Trump also wants a piece of your mega billions as well.

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